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SANCTIONED BIAS: Racial Profiling Since 9/11



diverting limited law enforcement resources and singling out individuals who ought not fall under government scrutiny.


This report details how the trauma of 9/11 has made general anti-immigrant sentiment acceptable in the guise of law enforcement and how

national security initiatives incorporate discrimiIL L nation into their application.

Just as troubling is Congress' inability to pass legisForeword

lation to address the problem of bias-based policing

both in the contexts of post-9/11 security measures the fight to keep bias from influencing law and the traditional "driving while black or brown” enforcement actions is as old as the turnpike racial profiling. A bill called the End Racial

Constitution itself. And, tragically, for much Profiling Act (ERPA) is pending in Congress today of our history, biased policing based on fear instead - and it deserves our support. of fact – has been widespread and ineffective.

Among other things, the ERPA is a good first step The ACLU was founded in 1920, in response to the toward addressing traditional racial profiling, drivbroad suppression of dissent in World War I and a ing while black or brown and some post-9/11 series of huge mass detentions and deportations, selective enforcement. It provides victims a legal largely of recent immigrants from eastern Europe, recourse, implements and funds key data collection initiated by Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer in programs to identify and track discriminatory 1919. The Palmer Raids, as they are now known, policing and gives the attomey general the ability came in response to a series of terrorist acts, includ- to deny funds to police departments that refuse to ing the bombing of Palmer's house, that were attrib- comply

. Please visit www.aclu.org/action to find uted to left-wing anarchists and socialists.

out how you can encourage your members of

Congress to sign on to this necessary legislation. In response, Palmer ordered federal agents to round up thousands of immigrants based not on

We can, and must, be both safe and free. To evidence of any conspiracy, but on their ethnicity, accomplish this, we must replenish security poliand in the case of the many Jews who were cies that depend on old fashioned policing, based detained and deported, their religion. It was racial on evidence and fact, and respect the tradition of profiling before the term was coined.

minority and individual rights in America. By

allowing base prejudice to decide who gets pulied Eighty years later, history is repeating itself. Since over on our highways or who gets detained and the tragedy of 9/11, we have seen an increase in the strip searched in our airports, we betray that funnation's willingness to condone law enforcement damental promise. and security actions based primarily on skin color or other immutable characteristics

, and a clear will. And, most tragically, we do so unnecessarily. ingness on the part of the Bush administration to implement such programs.

a Roma

The nation's Arab, Muslim and South Asian pop-
ulations are most affected by these new initia-
tives. Policies primarily designed to impact cer-
tain groups often result in the destruction of civil ANTHONY D. ROMERO
liberties for us all. Moreover, racial profiling Executive Director

An ACLU Report



"The above standards do not affect current Federal policy with respect to law

enforcement activilies and other efforts to In June 17, 2003 President Bush publicly defend and safeguard against threats to released a set of guidelines promulgated

national sccurity or the integrity of the by the Civil Rights Division of the

Nation's borders..." Departnicnt of Justice cntitled, Regarding the Use. of Race by Federal Law Enforcement Agencies. Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it has been the The introduction to the guidelines alluded to the

official policy of the United States governpresident's February 2001 address to Congress in

ment to stop, interrogate and detain individuwhich he doclared that racial profiling is "wrong als without criminal charge - oficn for long and we will end it in America.” The accompany- periods of time on thc basis of their national ing Fact Sheet on Racial Profiling issued by the origin, cthnicity and religion. In fact, the very Department of Justice contains phrases like:

inclusion of a national security cxccption in

The guidelines is an admission by the “racial profiling is wrong and will not be

Department of Justice that it relies upon tolerated;"

racial and ethnic profiling in ils domestic

countcrtcrrorism cfforts. “Amcrica has a moral obligation to prohibit racial profiling;” and

In response to the severe shortcomings in the

president's guidelines, a bipartisan group or "stcrcotyping certain races as having a lawmakers in both thc House of greater propensity to commit crimes is Representatives and the Senate has introduced absolutely prohibited."

the “End Racial Profiling Aci," a comprehen

sive package designed to track and provide But the guidelines themselves fall far short of steps toward climinating racial, cthnic, relithe Bush administration's rhetorical posturing. gious and national origin profiling. As this Since they are only a sct of guidelincs, rather report went to print, nearly 100 members of than a law or an executive order, they have no Congress had co-sponsored the measure and a teeth. They acknowledge racial profiling as a large coalition of public advocates from many national concer, but they provide no enforcc- points on the political spectrum, including seyment mechanisms or methods for tracking eral law enforcement organizations, were whether or not sederal law enforcement agen- actively working to ensure it receives its duc cies are in compliance.

consideration in Washington.

The guidelines' most serious flaw, however, is Specifically, the bill would define racial, ethnic, that they carve out a huge national security religious and national origin profiling, ban their loophole. The guidelines specily:

use and provide a cause of action for individuals

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